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Philip Kaufman to Receive Maverick Spirit Award at Writers Celebration

For more than four decades, Philip Kaufman has been gracing the screen with his unique and passionate vision, creating a double-barreled legacy of excellence as both a writer and director. To conclude our Writers Celebration event on March 9 at the San Jose Rep we will be honoring Philip Kaufman with the Maverick Spirit Award. Previous guest recipients include Kevin Spacey, Sir Ben Kingsley, Spike Lee, William H. Macy, Diablo Cody, and Alec Baldwin.

The final act of the evening focuses on the requisite passion that creates all art, particularly cinematic art. All Cinequest Writers Celebration attendees will convene at the San Jose Rep from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. to witness the awarding of the CQFF22 Maverick Spirit Award to Philip Kaufman and to hear him share his expertise through a moderated Q&A session. This honor reflects the essence of the Cinequest spirit and recognizes and celebrates a Maverick who, with purpose and passion, has influenced the world of screenwriting in a unique, positive, and daring fashion. Tickets to the Maverick Spirit Event are $15 or $20 for the entire Writers Celebration day of events.

Born in Chicago, Kaufman attended the University of Chicago and Harvard Law School, but he found film more agreeable to his artistic inclinations after discovering the possibilities of a more personalized storytelling in European cinema and the work of American mavericks like John Cassavetes. His first picture as writer/director, the shot-on-a-shoestring, beatnik-era comedy Goldstein, was acclaimed by French auteur Jean Renoir as “the best American film I have seen in twenty years,” and it also received the Prix de la Nouvelle Critique at Cannes in 1965. Luckily for cinema lovers, Kaufman abandoned law for good and plunged into the world of film. He not only creates his own films, he also collaborates with celebrated filmmakers like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. Though Lucas created the Indiana Jones character, it was Kaufman who created the “Raiders of the Lost Ark” story for the first installment. He also works with both of these legends, writing scripts for the hugely successful Indiana Jones video game.

San Francisco based, Kaufman writes and directs films with a distinctly American flavor: his work is outspoken and confident, fiercely independent and liberally seasoned with wide-eyed optimism of the human potential, yet tempered by an astute awareness of the insidious dangers of rigid conformism, societal control, and shaky moral ground. His films, though highly personal, have tremendous appeal, due largely to his superb story telling skills. He possesses an innate ability to put down on paper what he vividly imagines and then takes those words and shapes them into characters and images that burrow into the unconscious and pack a collective emotional wallop.

For example, his script for The Right Stuff takes Tom Wolfe’s wildly popular book about the original 1960s Mercury astronauts and fashions it into an epic, uniquely American film, chock full of high drama, heroism, and humor. Through Kaufman’s adaptation, the events so widely reported in the press and on television come alive in intimate, human detail. We get inside the astronauts’ hearts and minds and under their skins and through these men discover our own place in the vastness they were tasked to explore. Kaufman creates a special vehicle for this journey, pulls us into the story, and takes us along for an incredible ride.

Now into his sixth decade in the world of moving pictures, Philip Kaufman shows no signs of slowing down. His highly anticipated film Hemingway and Gellhorn, about the legendary writer’s affair and marriage to WWII correspondent Martha Gellhorn, screens this coming May on HBO. He also continues to spin out scripts for the Indiana Jones video game series. Sporting his unmistakable shock of hair and the still brilliant twinkle in his eye, it’s obvious that Phil Kaufman’s artistic fire still burns brightly.

Prior to the Maverick Spirit Event, the Writers Day Celebration will occur in the San Jose Rep Theatre. The full event is $20 per person and is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Writers Celebration - The Business of Writing - Friday, March 9, 2012

Cinequest brings industry expertise to an event focused on the business of film writing at the San Jose Rep. With Cinequest's devotion to creativity and innovation, there's no better resource for the emerging or established writer.

10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. - Part 1: How to Pitch Your Screenplay

Here’s where Cinequest helps aspiring screenwriters take the first steps to launch their careers. Spartan Films producer Barnaby Dallas and screenwriter James Dalessandro (1906 ) will tag-team to present a lively, interactive workshop on how to effectively pitch screenplays to industry professionals. Following the workshop, Dallas and Dalessandro will share the stage with the top 10 screenwriters of Cinequest’s Screenwriting Competition and pitch each finalist’s script before the competition winner is announced. The event will also select members from the audience who will have a rare and exciting opportunity to pitch their scripts to Dallas and Dalessandro, who, along with the audience, will offer comments, tips, and advice.

1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. - PART 2: Business of Writing Panel

It’s that age-old clash of art and commerce, but to get your work produced you have to navigate the often turbulent seas of the business of film. Join leading industry experts for our Business of Writing Panel and what will surely be an interesting, informative, and entertaining Q&A session, moderated by James Delassandro. Here participants will get an insider’s view into the business of screenwriting, told from the perspective of studio executives, agents, and producers. Panel members will share their experience and opinions on what constitutes the nuts and bolts of the screenplay-to-finished-film process, including hopes and dreams, frustrations, pitfalls, and pinnacles of success. These stories within the stories are not to be missed.

Underscoring the importance of this essential element of the filmmaking process, Cinequest will announce the winner of the CQFF22 Screenwriting Competition before the panel gets underway. The top three finalists will receive their prizes and be justifiably acknowledged on stage.

CQ22 Premium Partners: Intel Corporation (NASDAQ-GS: INTC), Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE: HPQ), Nokia Corporation (NYSE: NOK), Adobe Systems Incorporated (NASDAQ: ADBE).

CQ22 Partners: Applied Materials Inc. (NYSE: AMAT), AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), Barco, Camera Cinemas, CBS Radio, City of San Jose, Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA), Dolby Laboratories (NYSE: DLB), eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY), El Observador, Harmonic Inc. (NASDAQ: HLIT), Kaiser Permanente, Metro Newspapers, MovieMaker, NBC Bay Area , Panasonic (NYSE: PC), Peet’s Coffee & Tea (NASDAQ: PEET), Silicon Valley Community Newspapers, Telemundo, The Fairmont, The Hilton, The Mercury News, Travelocity, Valley Transportation Authority, Yelp

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